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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The revolutions have just started

Suppose Bashar al-Assad falls tomorrow, the Saudi and the Americans succeed in establishing a puppet regime and resume business as usual - is that the end of Syrians' uprising? Is that what the Arab Spring and Tahrir Square are all about? Now, suppose Russia, China and the Islamic Republic manage to keep Assad in power, is that the end of the Syrian uprising? 

No: the revolutions have just started.

The fundamental flaw of both the Left and the Right is that - one from intellectual limitation and the other out of moral deprivation - they have no ground-up conception of what it is that is unfolding in front of their eyes and we call the Arab Spring. They are both statists - power hungry, reaching to gain control of the state apparatus, or what Max Weber called "external means" of any state, its violent means of domination,
forgetting what in the same sentence Weber called the necessity of "inner justification" on part of the people subject to those external means. Syrians, like all other Arabs from Morocco to Bahrain and down to Yemen, as indeed Iranians before and along with them in the rest of the Muslim world, have lost that "inner justification" and no "external means" - provided by the US/Saudis or by Russia/Islamic Republic - can force them into obedience. 

Open-ended revolutions are what we are witnessing in the Arab world - and open-ended revolutions mean people matter, mean the Egyptians are still out in Tahrir Square, and they mean that these states, however they turn out and are manufactured by external machinations, need a populace to rule - and that populace will never be subject to one or another sort of tyranny or treachery.
The Saudis and the Islamic Republic, as with the US and the Russians/Chinese, can perform all their machinations - but resistant and defiant will remain the Syrian people - and their open-ended revolution, which is integral to the Arab Spring. 
They say you can conquer a land on horse, but you must descend in order to rule it - the same is true about Syria: From the US and Israel to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, and then from Russia and China to the Islamic Republic and Hezbollah, there certainly are many machinations at work to conquer Syria. But when all the dust is settled and these mighty machinations end, the new conquerors must come down to rule it - and when they do, they will find themselves facing the indomitable spirit of the people that have left their inner dungeons of fear - and who will never ever again be subject of either domestic tyranny or external treachery. Syrians have already won their
revolution - for the next tyrants now wishing to conquer Syria will come down from their horses, facing a nation refusing to be frightened or fooled into obedience. 

The Arab Spring has unleashed the power of ordinary people and staged the public space they occupy and the civic associations they will eventually and inevitably form on that space. The Arab Spring has already given birth to a robust revolutionary gemeinschaft that will stay with these societies no matter who and what is in power. Unbeknown to the political machinations that have divided the Left and the Right, people of Syria - as indeed people from across the Arab and Muslim world - are dispelling their agoraphobia and realising the power of their communal gatherings. 

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